In 1817, James Parkinson published an essay reporting six cases of paralysis agitans, which later came to be known as Parkinson’s disease. In recognition of James Parkinson’s birthday, April 11th is celebrated globally as World Parkinson’s Day. Join us in raising awareness as we share information on Parkinson’s disease and how in-home caregivers can help care for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that is both chronic and progressive, and the risk of developing this disease increases with age. An estimated 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s and most cases occur after the age of 50. Symptoms often progress slowly but become more debilitating with time. Cells within the substantia nigra of the brain naturally produce dopamine, a chemical that helps relay messages between different brain regions, which then transform into smooth muscle movements. With Parkinson’s, dopamine-producing cells are damaged over time which affects communication between cells and the individual’s motor skills. Symptoms often appear when 60-80% of dopamine-producing cells have been damaged and the earlier you recognize the following warning signs, the better:
- Tremors or shaking in the hand, chin, lip, or limbs
- Changes in handwriting— may become smaller or the way he/she writes has changed
- Decreased sense of smell
- Difficulty sleeping
- Trouble moving or walking
- Constipation and difficulty with bowel movements
- Changes in tone of voice—may become more hoarse or softer
- Masked face—a serious, depressed, or angry look on your face that you can’t control
- Dizziness or fainting spells
- Posture problems such as stooping or hunching over
Currently there is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease. Doctors can usually treat the symptoms and alleviate any discomfort with treatment options such as medication and/or surgery. Proactive lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly and developing healthy eating habits can help decrease the risk of Parkinson’s as well as speech and occupational therapy, complementary treatments and counseling. If you or someone you know has signs or symptoms of Parkinson’s, consult your physician for an evaluation and treatment plan.
At Home Care Assistance, we aim to help people with Parkinson’s live the best, most fulfilling lives they can in the comfort of their homes. Our caregivers are trained to offer assistance with transportation and errands, meal preparation, personal hygiene, medication reminders, companionship and emotional support both hourly and 24/7. To learn more about how our caregivers can help you or a loved one living with Parkinson’s, please visit www.HomeCareAssistance.com/Parkinsons.